One Month Into the Journey, the Refugee Caravan Advances to Defend the Right to Asylum and Safety

Baja California, Mexico — We, members of Viacrucis Migrantes en la Lucha 2018, continue our journey resolute in our mission to reach safety for us and our families. The institutionalized violence and insecurity in Central America, backed by the United States, have forced us out of our countries of origin. Throughout the past month we have endured a long trip through Mexico and beyond, fighting to secure safety and dignity. The bonds we established on this Caravan have given us the tranquility that we lacked before. As we end our journey across Mexico, we demand that our rights as refugees, migrants, and human beings be respected:

  1. We demand the right to seek asylum. We demand that we not be separated from our children and that we not be tortured by indefinite detention. Seeking asylum is not a crime. On the contrary, it is a right protected by law.*
  2. We demand an end to the militarization of the northern and southern Mexican borders by the U.S. and Mexican governments, who have cruelly and uselessly sent troops (the U.S. and Mexican National Guards) to the borders to repress us—families, mothers, children, and grandparents who fled war and seek life.
  3. We demand that the U.S. stop sending money to the Honduran government, with the exception of humanitarian aid, because their money is used to purchase the guns that Juan Orlando Hernández’s troops use to kill those of us from Honduras when we go out to protest in defense of our rights.

While many of us are fleeing the violence in Honduras, we come from different countries and backgrounds. We are women, men, teenagers, children, and seniors. Some of us have come alone, others with families and children. Some of us are LGBTQI (such as the transmigrantes), Afro-descendant, and / or indigenous.  However, we share the common reality of living amidst war in our countries.  In the words of Guillermo, a 26-year-old man from Honduras who travels alongside his pregnant wife and their two-year-old baby: “Just like the sound of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas last year, that is the sound we hear in our communities.”

We have denounced the conditions in our countries of origin and achieved dialogue with consulate offices, embassies, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), even making the Honduran Ambassador walk in our shoes alongside us.  We visited the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, where we protested: “Stop Donald Trump, with his policy of fear!” For a long time, this policy of fear has supported the government of Juan Orlando Hernandez, increasing insecurity and danger for many of us in Honduras.

We have marched through the streets of Mexico demanding the right to free and safe passage. Although some of us have achieved safety in Mexico through our collective efforts to demand protection, many more cannot be safe in this country because of the institutionalized violence and insecurity that prevail in many parts of the Mexican territory, or because we are persecuted by the same groups as in our countries of origin. The transnational capacity of gangs and criminal groups can not be ignored.

In the face of more unprecedented attacks on our rights by the U.S. government, including current calls to reject their obligations under the law* towards refugees and to forcibly separate families seeking asylum, we will continue to seek safety and dignity for ourselves and our families. We ask the U.S. government for adequate reception as refugees and to understand that we embarked on this journey because we had to flee our countries. Returning means putting our lives at risk; we have no other choice but to seek refuge where it exists.

Supported and encouraged by the solidarity demonstrated by the March Without Borders from Los Angeles and by many other groups and people from all over the world, we will arrive at the U.S. border and collectively demand the opportunity to seek asylum and reach safety at the Tijuana – San Ysidro, California port of entry.

We will continue our struggle until we reach safety.

From the migrants of Viacrucis Migrantes en la Lucha 2018.

*Under Title 8 of United States Code Section 1225, non-citizens with credible fear of persecution in their country of origin have the right to seek asylum in the United States for protection from persecution and violence. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol define the fundamental rights of refugees, including in the United States.

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